Most of us sleepwalk through life, and we donít even realize it. I donít mean our daily lives are boring or unchallenging; I mean weíre conditioned to walk through the world in a sort of trance state, seeing every new circumstance through the cloudy lens of past experience.
Our minds are hardwired to perceive each new experience in a way thatís deeply influenced by past outcomes, social conditioning and personal preferences. All of this makes it almost impossible to appreciate the new experience for what it really is: A brand new experience, unlike any other and filled with limitless possibility.
Instead, our preconceived expectations of this new moment (and every new moment) keep us in a sort of hypnotic trance thatís very much like sleepwalking. And it pretty much guarantees our new outcomes will be very much like our unsatisfying old outcomes.
Itís worth trying to break these mental patterns, to start seeing the beauty of each new moment as it really is. Whenever a new experience presents itself (even if it reminds you of a familiar old experience) the first step is to pause and recognize: This is brand new to me. Donít let yourself connect it to a past experience; donít predict a future outcome based on old stuff.
Patterns get broken when you retrain the way your mind reacts to an experience. If something used to make you feel hopeless, for example, and you feel an experience coming on that would typically trigger that same pattern of feeling hopelessÖ just stop. Notice the pattern, and lovingly refuse to fall into it.
This ďshort-circuitingĒ of that old mental pattern of hopelessness is actually a form of trance-breaking. By doing this over and over, every time you feel that old familiar stuff coming on, you are helping yourself snap out of the powerful trance that you (and all of humanity) have been in for countless lifetimes.
By learning to spot this kind of pattern as it happens, you have given yourself the power to unplug from it. (Your pattern may not be hopelessness, of course. It could be anger or depression or a host of other baggage youíd rather not drag around with you anymore.) Notice where a belief system is plugged into your way of seeing the world, and if itís not working for you, just unplug it. It really is that simple, and you yourself have the power to do it.
Awareness is the power source that makes this possible. Itís really not hard to unplug old beliefs; what actually takes the commitment and effort is the desire to wake up and become aware of the pattern in the first place. Weíre used to sleepwalking, after all; opening our eyelids and paying attention feels very strange and unfamiliar at first.
OK, so weíve made the commitment to be more aware of old patterns as they cloud our present perception, and we want to pull the plug on them. How do we go about it? This is one tried and true method: Once youíve noticed a familiar old pattern, look at it closely.
See if you can track this belief system through your previous life experiences and observe how it has colored your perception and behavior. Just be a witness; donít create yet another story about it. Thereís no right or wrong, no good or bad, here. Just track the pattern back to its source and pull the plug on it.
Say aloud that you choose not to remain hypnotized anymore, because you are a powerful, conscious being. You are not a puppet, nor are you a slave to your old belief systems.
Now, youíre free to be consciously aware of your experiences as they happen. You can decide what you choose to plug into. How wonderful! Something entirely different is waking up within you. Run with it. Donít argue with it, and donít use musty old logic to talk yourself out of it.
This is a new seed; itís up to you to nurture it. A little water, a little sunlight. Take care not to squash this new awareness under your boot heel! Treat it gently as it grows in strength. Let this world of fresh possibility unfold as it takes you to brand new places on your road to a newer, more fully alive YOU.
Carrie Triffet is the author of the award-winning book Long Time No See: Diaries of an Unlikely Messenger. Her next book, titled The Enlightenment Project, A Guide to the Everyday Practice of Oneness will be released in late 2011. For more information go to www.unlikelymessenger.com